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FAMU is positive about and prepared for upcoming football season

Posted at 8:58 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-17 07:39:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Earlier this week a Division II athletic conference in California completely canceled fall sports, and Friday Bowling Green canceled their baseball program.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are everywhere and may only get worse.

Florida A&M is choosing to stay positive, and Athletic director Kortne Gosha says there's a lot to be excited about.

The football fieldhouse is getting some much needed upgrades this summer and they should be ready to announce the new head coach of the women's basketball team next week.

"We had about 150 true applications," said Gosha. "We narrowed that down to a pool of 80 individuals with a very diverse make-up of high school head coaches, junior college head coaches, assistant coaches from the autonomous five and mid-major level, but it was really key and important for us to find an individual who knows what it means to build a championship culture. That does include winning, but it includes the development of young ladies off the court."

Gosha said he has daily conversations with Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference commissioners and they they are preparing for all options.

Losing football would be what Gosha calls catastrophic to FAMU. They'd lose $4 to $5 million in just game guaranteed money, like season tickets.

Gosha said those impacts will affect other programs which are funded through those resources.

"It's an unprecedented and uncharted territory, but again, we're confident that our fans and donors will step up and help us get through this time," said Gosha. "Again, we're going to make sure we position ourselves to be ready when that time comes."

The big question is will football be played on the Hill this fall?

Gosha said we don't know the answer just yet, or in what capacity. Information is changing daily, but they are planning for a normal fall, understanding it won't be a normal fall.

"If we do have sporting events in the fall, what do they look like," asked Gosha. "The percentage of people, how do you manage social distancing? What are the mechanisms associated with pulling off an event? Who's essential and who's not? All of those things are conversations right now, but we're planning for as normal as possible and some of the extremes that may come along with that such as not having fans in our venues and what are options are from a digital and remote access point of view."

He also said the feeling within the MEAC is that members that can play will play, and the Rattlers will be ready if and when that time comes.

Gosha said right now they have a target date of July of getting their student athletes back on campus, but he added that's not concrete and they don't want to compromise their safety.

More good news: When Gosha arrived at FAMU he inherited a $2.4 million deficit in the budget, but he says FAMU athletics will deliver a balanced budget for this academic year.

He added the Rattlers are close to announcing a new women's basketball coach. Gosha said they had over 150 applicants for the position.

"We narrowed that down to a pool of 80 individuals with a very diverse make-up of high school head coaches, junior college head coaches, assistant coaches from the autonomous five and mid-major level," he said. "It was really key and important for us to find an individual who knows what it means to build a championship culture. That does include winning, but it includes the development of young ladies off the court."

Gosha said the new coach should be announced early next week.